CUPERTINO: Apple launched new smartphones Wednesday at prices similar to recent models despite inflation and supply chain woes, while unveiling a premium digital watch with a price tag to match. While a 90-minute presentation at the company’s California headquarters did not include any surprise reveals, the tech giant did unveil new digital identification system to obviate the need for a physical sim card. The company’s newest smartphone, the iPhone 14, costs $799 for the base model – the same price as the current version, while a premium iPhone 14 Pro Max will go for $1,100.
The set of updated products, which also includes new earbuds, is designed to keep customers loyal to its lucrative technology ecosystem. “Apple continued its strong growth in the first half of 2022, driven by robust demand for the iPhone 13 – which was the best-selling smartphone worldwide,” said Le Xuan Chiew, an analyst at Canalys. The ability to keep the iPhone prices flat reflected the benefits of diversifying the supply chain to India after China’s zero-tolerance COVID policies crimped production there, the analyst said.
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said the launch event underscored Apple’s logistics strength. “Taking a step back, launching 3 new core hardware products within the Apple ecosystem despite the biggest supply chain crisis seen in modern history is a major feat for Cook & Co. especially with the zero COVID shutdowns in China seen in April/May,” Ives said. Features of the new iPhone 14 include a more durable battery and new photographic capacities to capture “ultra wide” scenes and low-light settings.
The phones also contain an “emergency SOS” function to enable messaging to emergency services when outside of Wifi coverage. The iPhone 14 Plus comes in a giant 6.7-inch (17-centimeter) screen that offers a better experience when playing games or watching videos. Company officials touted new digital watch products with enhanced features. The Apple Watch Series 8 – which can monitor body temperature and other body functions – prices at $400.
The company also unveiled the Apple Watch Ultra, priced at $800, which includes a battery with enough lifespan for hardcore athletes “to complete a long-course triathlon,” according to an Apple press release. Neil Saunders, analyst at GlobalData Retail, described the new offerings as having “incremental improvements rather than groundbreaking new innovations,” adding that the company “has done enough to drive demand by persuading consumers to upgrade and indulge in its new products.” – AFP